It’s almost December already (November 29th, to be exact), and most people I’d say will pin 2020 as a year they’d like to forget. Personally I think 2021 will come with more of the same, unless you’re in the “the vaccine will end this” camp. I’m sure not, but I think the vaccine is the End Game. Overall, like most things, it is what you make of it, or in this case also a bit of what others want you to make of it.
I don’t recall a time when I completely changed someone’s mind by showing them certain peer reviewed studies supporting a different opinion. Therefore, I decided to completely scrap another long article I had in the works discussing masks, Covid vaccines, PCR testing, and all those other controversial issues. I do discuss some of this on my Instagram page (@drgangemi), but overall I feel as though most people have made up their minds already about what they feel is right for them and no one study is going to change their emotional connection for or against masks, shutdowns, or vaccines. So rather than write another article about the virus and everything surrounding it, I decided to update this August article a bit with a few new links, tidbits, and nutritional information. Where you see the * then that section has been updated, including a new addition discussing the pro/con mask issues. Though a lot has changed since this article was written four months ago, you could also say a lot really hasn’t changed – it’s just more of the same, and there is definitely more of it all. Without going on and on about that, I hope you find some of the information below useful! Please especially note the nutritional update changes at the end – I’ve seen astragalus and elderberry work extremely well so far this season.
It’s been a long time since I last sent out a coronavirus update (here) – five months to be exact. This is the fifth or sixth version of what I’ve been considering on writing but everything is constantly changing regarding information about face masks, quarantine, vaccines, and everything in-between. It’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust. Almost everything related to Covid, (and everything is related to Covid today), seems to change daily based off the news flow, politically driven some days more than others. I think the fear, anxiety, and panic is going to cause more health problems than the virus, if what I’ve been seeing in my practice is a gauge of where we’re going. The long-term health consequences are highly unfavorable for those living this way, and we’re all being forced to live a certain way right now to some degree or another.
Yes, a vaccine will come, it has to, there is just too much of a financial stake at hand. I believe it will come too soon and before it’s proven to be safe. Whether it’s effective or not will not matter. Those strongly advocating the vaccines all have some financial stake in them, so that’s a conflict of interest, but it is how things are done today. The FDA has announced that an efficacy rate of 30-50% for the vaccine will be acceptable. Imagine if that’s how all medicine was accepted. “Your hip replacement will be 30% effective.” “Your heart medicine should be about 50% effective.” The flu vaccine has never been proven to be effective at reducing the virus, yet millions get the vaccine each year along with the many contaminates they still contain – mercury, formaldehyde, and aluminum to name a few. Whenever I’ve asked a patient who decided to get the flu vaccine what shot they got, they always give me the same “There’s more than one?” response. Nobody knows which one of the many different flu vaccines available they got and therefore the ingredients in that shot. *So far this year I have heard of one post-flu shot epileptic seizure in a 16-year old kid and another highly suspected. Please be aware that the flu shot does not come without risks and there is some research that points to an increased risk of infection from coronavirus in those who receive a flu shot. Vaccines are NOT mandatory in most states. So pretty much unless you live in NY, ME, CA, WV, or MI you can claim religious, medical, or philosophical exemption for vaccines, including influenza. This is true for public and private educational facilities.
Perhaps this will turn out like the toilet paper hoarding scenario. It will give people the feeling that they are doing something useful and taking some control, regardless of whether it is beneficial or not. Since the vaccine will most likely come out way before it is thoroughly tested to be proven unharmful, (it will be impossible to know long term effects), I truly hope it is at least effective for those who have made an informed decision to take the shot. Otherwise, the best case scenario is that you get a placebo effect – much like having too much toilet paper – you at least feel like you did something and get a feeling of accomplishment from it. Currently the reports, even from those manufacturers, are stating that the vaccine will not prevent an infection or transmission. *The Covid-19 vaccine testing is not designed to show protection against transmission, hospitalization, or death. It is only to prevent mild symptoms from becoming worse. In the Pfizer vaccine trial to be counted as a Covid-19 case, there had to be a positive PCR test and at least ONE symptom present. For the Moderna (this is the Bill Gates vaccine) study, the participant had to test positive with at least TWO symptoms. So please understand that if you get a vaccine and still get Covid, you’re still “negative” in the eyes of Big Pharma. You can even get the Moderna vaccine and lose your sense of smell and it’s considered a success.
The PCR tests aren’t 100% accurate, unfortunately, yet they’re being used to guide this entire pandemic. There have been reports of unswabbed tests coming back positive and false positives are all too common due to the sensitivity of the test, particularly with the rapid tests it seems.
*More recently there is the question of how many cycle thresholds each lab may be using and that it is set too high, leading to a positive test, but not actually an infected person. More on that here. Just the other day in Portugal (Nov 27th), the Lisbon Court of Appeal stated that “The PCR test is unable to determine, beyond reasonable doubt, that a positive result corresponds, in fact, to the infection of a person by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” Essentially there are a lot of people testing positive but with no other signs or symptoms or previous medical history. This of course, then dips into the questionable “asymptomatic transmission” scenario…
A positive test will lead you to a ten day quarantine, and fourteen days you if were around someone who tested positive but you’re not tested. If you get a contact tracing call and you have any ill-like symptoms for any reason and you tell that to the tracer then you’re automatically counted as Covid-19 positive too! It’s all a bit unsettling. But with proper testing, and knowing who really is contagious, we could starve the virus to an end and be done with it. That is option #2.
Option #3 is herd immunity. You’ve probably heard this a lot and the numbers are all over the place as to what percentage is needed. Originally Sweden was at the forefront of this idea, hoping to achieve herd immunity at 60% by May. That didn’t happen – they were around 16% by then. But today they feel like they “flattened the curve” without drastic lockdown measures, though you could argue the cost was great (specifically the death rate). Depending on what you read, and what that source knows, or believes, you may find a different perspective as to whether this was, or is, successful or not. Perhaps a 60% herd immunity might not be necessary as some are beginning to think it could be much lower.
Fear the Fear
I’ve seen more stress in people (patients) in the last several months – higher than four years ago going into the 2016 election. So things should only get worse. They have to get worse – that’s what we’re being told anyway. When we let our guard down we’re told the virus will get us – we HAVE to keep our fear levels up. I’m pretty sure that’s not good for our health, especially the strength of our immune system. The fear (your fear) will beat you down until you don’t care anymore and you’ll be so mentally and physically sick you’ll do whatever you’re advised (mandated) just to be done with it. That’s not a great situation to be in.
You can see the fear in some people as you just pass them by. People are afraid of people. If you have faith in your face covering then you should be able to stand next to someone for several seconds, if not a minute, in a grocery store while grabbing an item off of the same shelf. Yet, panic is in the air and if you’re too close then many think the virus is going to jump from the one [infected] person through their mask, through the air and through your mask, with the few breaths that they’re taking. If this is the case then we’re all doomed. (It’s not the case.) But then again, many think we are. We’re being told to believe we are in a major health catastrophe, and our own health and well-being is now dependent upon others, specifically pharmaceuticals. We take temperatures and have a high limit that someone came up with of 100.3F. Yet if it’s really true that those who are yet to have symptoms (asymptomatic) or just starting to have symptoms (oligosymptomatic), are the most contagious, then they’re probably under 100.3F and spreading the virus like wildfire anyway. So the temperature is a formality. If you’re sick with a temperature over that set limit, you’re possibly not as contagious as you once were before your symptoms started and now you’re probably (hopefully) wise enough to stay home.
Antibody testing is questionable. I haven’t seen a positive one yet and many I’ve run are on people who had Covid-type symptoms months prior. One thought is that the antibody levels don’t stay elevated for very long. Another more recent idea is that the virus is affecting more T-cells than B-cells. If that’s the case then your thymus gland will be more important than ever, which is why I’ve added that to the supplement recommendations below. Stress, from anxiety, fear, lack of sleep, a poor diet, and all those other unhealthy life factors, increases stress hormones like cortisol and impairs thymus function. By the way, the current proposed vaccines will work by creating antibody responses (a B-cell response), not a T-cell response.
Health Beyond Masks
Obesity is a huge risk factor but gyms are closed in most states. Excessive screen time has never been a healthy thing, especially for kids, but now more is advocated or mandated if you want an education. A couple years ago people really began to understand the dangers of hand sanitizers, but now those are back, (with many being recalled for harmful methanol), even though surface infection rates are very, very low. Despite this I recently saw a man wash his latex-gloved hands with a hand sanitizer before going into a store. That’s odd, and unsettling.
Guess what? All those health problems that existed BEFORE Covid are still present today. Lyme disease is still present yet it’s the first summer in my 22 years of practice when only a couple people I’ve seen have been concerned. I guess the ticks are quarantined too. Autoimmune diseases are still present and fear is a great way to really tax your immune system. The more compromised your immune system the more likely you are to get not just any virus (or at least have severe symptoms of), but also other diseases too. Yes – a strong immune should be able to beat a virulent tick borne disease, a viral infection, and many health problems. Sure, there are always exceptions, but not as often as you think.
So what have you done to take care of yourself today? Have you been outside? Have you done some deep breathing? Have you NOT watched TV (or excessive internet news)? Have you gone for a walk in nature? If and when things return to somewhat normal it will be harder to start healthy habits. You don’t need to be in an economic/global recovery with some form of compromised health because your health suffered immensely during this pandemic and you never even caught Covid-19. Simply put – don’t let this period be more than it has to be – and extend longer than it has to be for you, as an individual, as a family.
So put on your mask and go buy some healthy food at the grocery store (or farmers’ market). Then take that face covering off and go for a walk or run outside, or just sit under a tree and take a nap, surrounded by clean air in nature. (Really, remove that face covering!) You’ve still got a couple good months to build your immune system if you haven’t already before everyone talks about flu season in addition to Covid season continuing. The fear cycle of news is going to get worse. The vaccine MUST come out before herd immunity is achieved or else billions of dollars will be lost. If you truly believe in the vaccine (because you’re researched it on your own), you’re going to want to be as healthy as possible before you inject anything into your body. The health aspect of this entire ordeal has continued to be lost, as I’ve written extensively about before and spoken to many/all of my patients about. Let’s bring that concept back!
More Thoughts on Masks
*Some more thoughts on masks: First, there is as much, if not more, research pointing at how ineffective masks are, even when used properly, compared to how they have some ability to stop viral transmission when those viral particles are contained in large water droplets or even in aerosol form. Real world, randomized controlled trials show masks to be ineffective at stopping the spread of infectious diseases. Authorities, such as the CDC, keep citing theoretical models where someone coughs through a mask or into a Petri dish to state their mask case and then use supportive references that often go against their masking suggestions made in the same article. So we assume masks work rather than teach people about what is actually known to help the immune system. Evidence has never supported universal mask use and we all probably know someone who wore their mask all the time and still caught Covid (and they weren’t eating mask-off around others either). Most people of course don’t use them properly – actually you can say we can’t use them properly because in our daily lives we’re constantly taking them on/off and handing them incorrectly.
*BUT – here’s my bright-side spin on all this nuttiness: You can get some BENEFITS from the mask beyond what you might have considered, if you breathe correctly. When you breathe in more carbon dioxide (CO2) you actually improve your immune system, vascular system, and your mental and physical energy. No, you’re NOT getting CO2 poisoned! (I do read both sides of the arguments.) If you’re having trouble breathing in your mask, then you’ve got health issues. You actually have poor CO2 sensitivity and that means you’re essentially over-breathing, and in a way, hyperventilating. More CO2 will release oxygen (O2) from your red blood cells, and that brings along a host of health benefits. An inability to handle more CO2 is a sign of poor health and high stress = dis-ease. So, breathe in slowly through your nose, and out slowly through your nose to get some CO2 benefits with the mask on. Don’t be a mouth breather (and that also means you really shouldn’t be talking a lot with your mask on). Knowing this you will notice that most people are mouth breathers with their masks on and of course, more air is forcefully taken in and expelled out right through the mask – including all those viral particles – in droplets or aerosols, as they have to end up somewhere.
Please note that this slow breathing is done when in a restful position. However, for improved athletic performance you can experiment with periods of oxygen deprivation (increased CO2) but it is definitely not for the beginner. I only mention this because unfortunately many athletes, especially young children, are now being told to wear their masks during their sporting event even outside. I think that’s a bit irresponsible, as not only is it not healthy to wear a mask for a prolonged, often intense activity (volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, etc.), but when then mask gets wet from sweat and breath aerosols they lose what partial benefit they may have had and now have essentially become wet rags for bacteria, viruses, and other organisms to cling to.
For more information on CO2 breathing benefits I suggest you check out the Buteyko Method and the book The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown.
Please note: These are recommendations I give to current patients in my office. If you choose to follow some or all of the advice listed below, you do so on your own accord. Always do your own research with the advice of your qualified, and hopefully knowledgeable, health care professional.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 29, 2020
- Astragalus: 2 droppers-2x a day if exposed, 4 droppers-4x if sick
- Elderberry: 2 droppers-2x a day if exposed, and 4 droppers-4x a day if sick
- Vitamin A: I continue to recommend 10,000 IU a day of vitamin A during the cold & flu season. This increases to 25,000 IU 2x a day if you feel as though you’ve been exposed to a virus and 50,000 IU 2x day if you become sick. This dose is safe for approximately two weeks. Grass-fed butter has a lot of natural vitamin A too!
- Vitamin D: 6,000 IU once a day during the cold & flu season and 6,000 IU 2x a day if you become sick *SUNSHINE IS FREE, but no UVB rays for most parts of the country in the winter. Don’t take the pharmaceutical D2! More on that and vitamin D here.
- Zinc: 30 mg once a day; 2x a day if you get sick
- Vitamin C: Everyone loves taking vitamin C for the immune system though I’ve never liked synthetic ascorbic acid. Some note the efficacy of vitamin C for the common cold as well as flu in the range of 3 grams or more a day. I continue to recommend the natural source of camu camu powder from Supreme Nutrition (2 capsules-2x a day) or Cataplex C from Standard Process (4 tablets-4x a day); double them both if sick.
- Thymus PMG (Standard Process): 2 per hour whenever you’re feeling sick. If you are definitely sick (ANY type of cold/flu) increase to 4-5 per hour. Standard Process supplements available here.
- IF SICK: help improve the body’s cytokine breakdown you can take the amino acid glycine at 1,000 mg 4x a day. This is a clinical observation noted by some practitioners, including myself, who practice holistic medicine/nutritional biochemistry. Vitamin B6 (pyroxidal-5-phosphate) at 50 mg 2x a day and folate (5MTHF) at 2 mg 2x day may also help. Manganese (20 mg 2x a day) and riboflavin (vitamin B2), around 15 mg 2x a day, may also help.
- *Adjust the above half-dose for kids (approx. <13 yrs old).
- *Supplements are only available from our office if you’re a current patient.